Contextual Relationships Between Drug Use and Crime Essay
In society today, we all want to put a stop to crime and illegal drug activity. In our daily lives, we do not think about how drugs affect the crime rate until it has happens to us or someone close to us. One of the issues that warrant this kind of attention to this problem is that we don’t fully understand the relationship between drug use and criminal activity. As we know it today, there are three contextual relationships between drug use and criminal activity.
There are those drug users that commit crimes because they are under the influence, those who look to crime for the support of their drug addiction, and environmental factors and biological factors that can be responsible for a person to use drugs and commit crimes. We can take a close look at how these three situations relate to criminal activity and we could be taking a step closer to understanding why there is a problem today. When we examine the first relationship of drug use with crime, the person who is using drugs will most likely commit offenses that he or she might not normally do.
The person using drugs will most likely be arrested for theft, or driving under the influence. The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services conducts an annual National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and post their findings on their website. Here you can find that in 1997 there was a higher percentage rate of those who were arrested for possession, use, sale or driving under the influence than those who where not on drugs. According to the study, those arrested had also used illicit drugs in the past, and they were also at a higher percentage.
One of the highest percentages of a criminal activity was for larceny or theft. Those who were in possession or selling the drugs had one of the highest percentage rates of arrest as well. (Drug-Related Crime, 2000) These persons who committed these crimes were tested positive for drug use after they were arrested. The drug use motivated them to commit the crimes because they were not in a state of mind that made them think clearly. Under the influence of the drugs enabled them to carry out these criminal ctivities against others because they did not think out the consequences. In 1997 the U. S. Bureau of the Census conducted a survey of State and Federal prison inmates and asked them whether they were under influence of drugs at the time they committed their crime. When the results came back, it was found that the results varied from state and federal prisons. The most crimes committed under the influence of drugs were violent offenses. State prisons had a higher rate of those under the influence that committed murder than federal prisons.
Over all, State inmates posses a higher rate of all violent offenses, property offenses, and drug offenses than Federal inmates. (Drug-Related Crime, 2000) This study also showed that drugs have a huge impact on those who commit these crimes. The relationship of drugs and crime in this aspect shows that these individuals only committed these crimes because of the drugs influence on them. Another relationship a person would have with drugs and crime is that they commit the crimes to support their drug habit.
These persons are motivated by the need to continue with the drug abuse, they commit offenses to obtain money to buy the drugs. Another prison survey that was conducted in 1991 estimated that 17 percent of State prisoners and 10 percent of Federal prisoners committed their offenses to get money to buy drugs. (Drug-Related Crime, 2000) These persons would probably not have committed these crimes if they were not under the influence of drugs. The drugs played a major part in their lives and the decisions they made to commit these crimes. As researcher James Q.
Wilson brought out that “some addicts who steal to support their habit come to regard crime as more profitable than normal employment. ” (Abadinsky et al, 2004) Another aspect of drugs and crime you can examine is that trafficking illicit drugs generates violent crimes. You will have the drug dealers fighting over customers and territories as well as fighting over disputes and rip-offs among individuals involved in the sale of illegal drugs. These individuals will possess illegal weapons and will engage in unnecessary violence against other members. This results in homicides that are drug related.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations Crime reports that in 1994 the number of drug related homicides totaled 1,540 and in 1998 this number was reduced to 795. (Spiess, 2000) While there was a decrease in murders, homicides related to drugs still rank as the fourth most documented murder circumstance out of 24 possible categories. The environment also plays a role in drug use and crime. There are certain environments that have a substance abusing parent, or family member that may be a substance abuser that can play a vital role in how the adolescent turns out.
We also must focus in those neighborhoods that are known to be associated with high drug use and trafficking. The neighborhoods are a prime reason there are adolescents on drugs. A recent report on juveniles throughout Baltimore Maryland noted that marijuana was the most popular and the most accessible drug in their neighborhoods and communities. They also noted that ecstasy is the popular drug of abuse among juveniles in Maryland. (Canham, 2003) With these facts in mind, it shows that your environment plays a major role in possible drug abuse and criminal activity.
In these kinds of neighborhoods, you will have the drug dealers and the drug addicts and there will be confrontation at times which will result in criminal activity. When you take these three relationships into perspective, they all will result in criminal activity and the person committing the crime has their own motives why they are engaging in such activities. These persons will all wind up in the same place no matter why they did the crime. When you compare the three relationships, I feel that the person committing the crime because they want to fund their drug habit is the most social threat.
This person does not directly harm the other person who is involved in the drug trade; they harm those around them that are innocent. They will steal, rob, and victimize businesses or persons to get what they need to be able to fund their drug habit. I feel that they are more motivated to get that quick fix than those who use drugs and commit crimes they would have not done if they were not using drugs. All three instances pose a threat to society and each person in society will have their own views which relationship has the most impact.
In my opinion, the other two don’t have the drive and motivation as a crack head would have to get that next fix. They will not care what they do to get that next fix; they will just do the crime and hope that they do not get caught so they would be able to get that next fix over and over again. The environmental factors pose a threat, but they can be controlled by the city police and they can be improved when the city cracks down and tries to improve the environment. These other aspect can be fixed and cleaned up, but the one who is addicted to the drugs will need to go to rehab it they want to.
If they don’t want to be there and they cannot kick the habit, then they will continue to do look for things to steal or persons to rob. These are the three relationships that are in our society that are prevalent everyday. It’s up to us to control these factors for the future of the children growing up in America.
Abadinsky, H. (2004). Drugs an introduction . 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. Canham, S. , Choyka J. D. , Artigiani E. , and Wish, E. D. (2003). Juvenile offender population urinalysis screening program. , Retrieved Mar 26, 2005, from http://www. dewsonline. org/dews/opus/annual2003. pdf. Drug-related crime. (2000). Retrieved Mar. 26, 2005, from Office of National Drug Control Policy Web site: http://www. whitehousedrugpolicy. gov/publications/pdf/ncj181056. pdf. Spiess, M. , & Fallow, D. (2000). Drug related crime. White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Retrieved Mar 26, 2005, from http://www. policyalmanac. org/crime/archive/drug_related_crime. shtml.